Purpose: Research training for clinicians is becoming relatively common for postdoctoral trainees in academic institutions. In contrast, there are relatively few such training programs for family physician residents. The purpose of this article is to describe a novel program for family medicine trainees in Maccabi Health Services, a large Israeli health fund. Methods: Following organizational approval and budget allocation, a call for family residents resulted in 18 applications, 15 of whom were selected for a two-year research training program. Each trainee submitted a research proposal, dealing with a community- based research question. Each protocol was allocated a budget. The Program, overseen by a steering committee of family physicians and scientists, has a designated clinical epidemiologist who coordinates all activities. The Project runs monthly face-to-face meetings where trainees present their research proposals. The group reviewed the protocols ahead of time, commented on them and criticized them. In parallel, the trainees participate in a detailed discussion of their research proposals face-to-face with the program director and clinical epidemiologist, and the revised research proposal is submitted to the Institution Review Board. Results: The Program received enthusiastic responses from the trainees and from Maccabi Health Services, which has already approved the budget for the second year of the Program with a new stream of trainees. The approved research proposals dealt with original and important community-based clinical questions. Conclusions: With the aim of developing clinician-researchers in the field of family medicine, this novel program will help change the research climate in a large organization, where community-based family practitioners were not typically involved in research.
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